Yahtzee comes in a tall, rectangular box that appears to be the original and features dice and the head of a man wearing a graduation cap and big red bow. The lid says "the FUN game that makes THINKING... fun!" It contains the lid, box, cup, 5 dice, 19 tokens, and 2 score pads in boxes.
The game was marketed by Edwin S. Lowe in 1956. During Lowe's ownership over 40 million Yahtzee games were sold worldwide. The game has maintained its popularity. According to current owner Hasbro, 50 million Yahtzee games are sold each year.
According to Hasbro, the game was invented by an anonymous Canadian couple, who called it The Yacht Game because they played it on their yacht with their friends. Later they asked Lowe if he would make up some sets to be given as gifts to their friends who enjoyed the game. Lowe perceived the possibility of marketing the game and acquired the rights to the game from the couple in exchange for 1,000 gift sets. According to Lowe, the game did not initially do well commercially, since the rules and appeal were not easily conveyed in an advertisement. Eventually, he had the idea of organizing Yahtzee parties at which people could play the game and thereby gain a first-hand appreciation of it. The idea was successful, and enthusiasts quickly popularized the game through word of mouth.
The objective of the game is to score points by rolling five dice to make certain combinations. The dice can be rolled up to three times in a turn to try to make various scoring combinations and dice must remain in the box. A game consists of thirteen rounds. After each round the player chooses which scoring category is to be used for that round. Once a category has been used in the game, it cannot be used again. The scoring categories have varying point values, some of which are fixed values and others where the score depends on the value of the dice. A Yahtzee is five-of-a-kind and scores 50 points, the highest of any category. The winner is the player who scores the most points.